Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Sad Adios

Magical Mystical Teacher is right, I did get some good advice- thanks to all who took the time to comment.
How did yesterday go? Well, it started with a quick faculty meeting in the auditorium- several people hadn't yet heard. We were to tell the kids that a student of ours passed away over the weekend in a car accident and leave it at that. They did bring in several counselors from other schools, but honestly, the kids don't want to talk to people they don't know.
My first 2 blocks were pretty quiet. Only 1 or 2 kids in each of those classes even knew the kid or his brother, so weren't so close to it all. My 4th block class wanted to talk. One girl was with the family most of the weekend- many of them shared where they were when they found out. (Gotta love cell phones/texting- probably 500 people or more knew he was gone within an hour of his passing). I brought a card and all the kids signed it. I kind of let them call the shots- they had spent most of the weekend with each other and talking and crying, so I think they did want a little bit of normalcy in their day- just to know that things go on, that things can be all right.
I am amazed by my students- they have rallied together and organized memorials to be set up in a local park- collecting money for a bench in his name, Facebook pages that are a tribute to him, one kid is collecting money for wristbands, all the boys have shaved their heads (they had to shave his head at the hospital as a result of a head injury suffered in the accident- I guess he was very particular about his hair, so his brother shaved his own head in solidarity.) They set up a little memorial at the site of the accident with posters and markers and flowers and candles. They have arranged a senior prank- one that he always wanted to do (at the graduation ceremony, each kid-class of 400-is to hand our principal a small plastic dinosaur as they go up to receive their diplomas.)
The driver is devastated, as anyone would be. The kids have surrounded him with love, too. He is going to go ahead and have a graduation party, and I'm so glad he is. The parents of the boy who died (C) are having a "graduation memorial" party for their son in a few weeks as well.
I don't know if my student, the brother of C, will return for the end of the school year. I think there is some kind of unwritten rule that says if your brother is killed unexpectedly 2 weeks before the end of the year, you can just have the grade you were getting and not have to do any makeup work or take your finals. Don't you think that's only fair?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Anyone care to weigh in on this one?

There's been a sad turn of events this weekend. A boy at the school where I teach was killed in a car accident. Beautiful day, right after school, no ice, no drugs or alcohol, just a teenage boy's need for speed, subsequent loss of control of car, crash into tree, killing the passenger. The driver was unharmed physically, but now faces the burden of living each day knowing that he caused his friend to die. Most of the kids in my 4th block class are affected by this in some way- all of as are affected because the brother of the victim is in that class. Many of the kids are friends of the driver and the victim. We are having an "emergency" faculty meeting right away tomorrow- I'm not quite sure I know what we'll do in class. My Spanish 1's probably won't be as directly affected and I can most likely have a "regular" class. But, for my last class? Do I hold class as normal? Do we talk about it? Do we talk a bit, and then do some work? Do we do no work? They don't teach you this stuff in college. Anyone else out there gone through this? Some advice, please.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Damn- can you believe it's been over a month since I posted last? It's that time of year. Been a bit stressed lately.
A recap:

1. You may recall that I am the default Dept. Head. By that, I mean, no one else really wanted to take it on. (It's unpaid, so there's very little incentive.) We get representation at Dept. Head meetings- I guess maybe the World Languages department is a bit like Puerto Rico in Congress in that respect. I digress. So, it's time to start scheduling for next year, which is always dicey, especially in the French and German classes, as we hold our breath every year, anticipating the day they say that we are going to lose a teacher in either of those subjects. Very stressful- emotions run real close to the surface. Looks like things are ok for now. There's also an added bit of unexpected drama on the part of another colleague and subsequent silent treatment that has also been a big pain in the ass of late.

2. I put my name in to teach an upper level Spanish Civ/Lit. class- stressful only in that my colleague (Mr. Burns clone) usually teaches those upper level classes and kills our program in the process. He zaps any enjoyment and love of language right out of the class and instead demoralizes those students, many of them either fail or drop, leaving him with a class consisting of 10 students at midterm. So I've been worried for weeks now that he's going to confront me and/or call my competency into question, blahdy, blahdy, blah, blah, blah. Long story longer, it looks like I indeed will be teaching that class in the spring. Yay!

3. I'm going to be our school's Student Council Advisor next year- fraught with everyone's 2 cents, of course. Lots to do and consider- homecoming, food drive, fund raisers, blood drives, community service....

4. I'm supposed to take a group of 16 students to Mexico on June 9. Spent most of last week on pins and needles worrying about the damn swine flu. Our travel company is so wonderful, though, and I trust them implicitly. They haven't canceled, so it looks like it's a go.

5. House? Mess. Easter decorations? Waiting to be put away. Laundry? Piling up.

6. Struggling to finish material before end of year amidst Senior Picnic, class meetings, golf meets, track meets, soccer games and unauthorized Senior Skip Days...